Monday, 25 July 2011

Culloden Moor and Tain to Inverness

Monday July 18: Site of the last Battle fought on Scottish soil where, on 16th April 1746, the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart (the Bonnie Prince), armed mostly with knives, swords and a small round wooden shield or targe, their charge was brutally decimated by Redcoat musket volley-fire. It's a bleak and surprisingly emotional place. One of my kinsmen, Alexander, fought here and managed to escape to the Irvine family seat at Drum Castle where he hid in a secret cupboard while his sister, Lady Mary, entertained the Redcoat officers. Thus he escaped the Duke of Cumberland's bloody aftermath by fleeing to France but was allowed to return to the estate 6-years later. Charles Stuart, the young pretender, died in France a disillusioned alcoholic no longer young nor very bonnie.
Tuesday 19: Tain to Nigg Ferry (12 miles). Cloudy, dull with some light drizzle. Taking the train to Tain I'm trying to finish the Far North Way to Inverness and walk past Fearn's pretty station around Nigg Bay to catch the Nigg Ferry to Cromarty, planning to then get the bus back to Inverness. But, despite a sign telling me the Cromarty Rose runs every thirty minutes no ferry arrives, "it's broken" a local informs me. My only option is to walk 8-miles all the way back to Fearn station and get the evening train to Inverness. Twenty miles in total, more of a test for my knee than I had planned.
Thursday 21: My knee's no worse so I buy a pair of Mountain Warehouse Pinnacle boots which I'll test to destruction - them or me.
Friday 22: Cromarty to Munlochy (16 miles). Cloudy with sunny and drizzly spells. Still based in Inverness I take the bus north to Cromarty then walk south, mostly along the quiet country lanes of National Cycle Route 1, to follow pretty Fairy Glen into Rosemarkie and then onto Fortrose with it's ruined cathedral. Minor roads then a path along the course of the old Black Isles Railway take me to Munlochy post office where the local bus takes me back to Inverness.
Saturday 23: Munlochy to Inverness (9 miles). Cloudy and warm with sunny spells. A dissapointing detour to the Black Isles Brewery (it's closed) leads to North Kessock and the sweeping Kessock Bridge over Beauly Firth and I'm back in Inverness. The Far North Way is now complete and the more pleasant waymarked Great Glen Way beckons.
Photos of Culloden Moor and from Tain to Inverness.

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